Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Half Full or Half Empty?

For those following the honey bee saga, there is good news and bad news.  The good news is that one of the hives is so full of bees it is bursting at the seems (especially when it is 90 degrees and 1000% humidity)...

The bees have been making honey recently, which I know because the air smells wonderfully of honey all around the hive.

If you look closely at the bees on the bottom board, they are lined up facing the entrance, butts in the air and beating their wings furiously. They do this to create a breeze inside the hive to cool it and to move air over the nectar they have gathered so that it will ripen into honey.

It wouldn't seem like a few bees fanning their wings could do much, but if you were to put your hand in front of the hive entrance, you would be able to feel the breeze they create.

 A very busy, very full, very beautiful hive.

I opened the hive very briefly, just to give them some more hive boxes so they will have more room to hang out and to (hopefully) make more honey in the fall Golden Rod bloom.

These bees are quiet, productive and easy to work with.

We've had a terribly hot summer and last weekend was just brutal, which is why everyone was hanging out on the porch all afternoon.

As for the other hive....it is dead.

I don't know what happened to it, the bees are simply gone.  They left behind two frames filled with fresh eggs and larva as well as the beginnings of their honey stores.  There is no sign of disease, they had fresh eggs so they could have tried to raise a new queen if the needed to and they had food.  But, there is not a single bee left in the hive, alive or dead.

And that is the way of beekeeping - joyous, vibrant, frenetically, beautifully alive.  Or not.  


  1. Perhaps they joined the other hive?

  2. How fascinating! They are so amazing to me...so industrious, loyal and attentive to their hive and to each other. I would love to learn about them and keep a hive someday. Ooh, and to have fresh, natural honey! What a treat!! Could it be possible that for whatever reason, the other hive swarmed and moved someplace else and maybe be okay? I certainly hope so, but it would still be disappointing to have them leave, and then never really know why?? Very interesting - thanks for sharing! Sorry about your heat. We've had a cooler than normal summer, but have had some blasting heatwaves of short duration. Sure hope your weather takes a cooling turn very soon - for all your sakes.

  3. VERY interesting. The wing fanning is cool (no pun intended) and didn't realize they would just up and leave a hive sitting right next to another active one. So is the way of bees....such interesting creatures.